1887

n Journal for Juridical Science - The best interest of the child : a United States and South African perspective

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-252X
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Abstract

This article examines the different approaches taken in the United States (U.S.) and South Africa with regard to the best interests of students / learners. The U.S. has a tradition of invoking a best interest standard for certain kinds of decisions involving children, but that tradition has generally been limited to divorce decrees, while the emphasis in school-related matters has been on rights of parents grounded in the U.S. Constitution and in federal and state statutes. On the other hand, South Africa has enshrined the best interest of the child in its Constitution and it is of paramount importance in all matters pertaining to the child. How these two approaches differ and what the future of the parent-child relationship should be in influencing decision-making regarding learners at schools is the object of this article. The article also considers the relevant U.S. federal constitutional and state statutory interpretations as they differ from the South African constitutional language. This article asks whether the long U.S. constitutional tradition of framing children's best interests in terms of parental decision-making on behalf of their children needs to be reconsidered. Conversely, in South Africa the most important question is whether courts could very well expand the concept of a parent, while at the same time considering whether the best interest of the child standard is a fundamental right or a rule of construction.


Hierdie artikel bestudeer die verskillende benaderings wat die Verenigde State van Amerika (VSA) en Suid-Afrika tot die regte van leerders huldig, aangesien die twee lande 'n gedeelde belang het in die beskerming van kinderregte. Die VSA beroep hulle tradisioneel op die beste belange-standaard vir sekere tipes besluite waarby kinders betrokke is, maar die tradisie is tot dusver oor die algemeen beperk tot egskeidingsbevelle, terwyl die klem in skool-verwante sake op ouers se regte soos gegrond in die VSA Grondwet en in federale staatswette geplaas is. Aan die anderkant het Suid-Afrika die beste belange van die kind in sy Grondwet verskans as van die heel belangrikste belang in sake waarby die kind betrokke is. Hoe hierdie twee benaderings verskil en wat die toekoms van die ouer-kind verhouding behoort te wees by die beïnvloeding van besluitneming rakende leerders op skool, is die doel van hierdie artikel, terwyl daar terselfdertyd standpunt ingeneem sal word wat betref die VSA se federale grondwetlike and staats-statutêre interpretasies soos hulle verskil van die Suid-Afrikaanse grondwetlike taalgebruik. Hierdie artikel vra ook of die lang VSA grondwetlike tradisie om 'n kind se beste belange te beoordeel in terme van sy ouers se besluitneming namens hom in heroorweging geneem behoort te word. Aan die anderkant van die muntstuk is die heel belangrikste vraag in Suid-Afrika of howe die konsep van ouerskap sou kon ontwikkel terwyl hulle ook terselfdertyd oorweging skenk aan die vraag of die beste belange van die kind 'n fundamentele reg of 'n konstruksie-reël is.

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/content/juridic/35/si-1/EJC55450
2010-01-01
2016-12-09

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